This idea of human connection being a treatment for OUD and other substances is nothing new. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Dr. Bruce Alexander, a Canadian psychologist, developed a study about the nature of addiction.
The experiment, later named “Rat Park” involved taking two cages, one filled with multiple rats, the other with only a single rat. In addition, Dr. Alexander filled each cage with food, water, and an addictive substance.
To summarize, the lone rat with a cage to himself partook in the addictive substance until overdose. However, the rats with company never partook of the addictive substances. Not even one time.
In short, the need for social interaction in our lives is a basic need for survival. For one to conquer their addiction, they must ensure all their needs are being met. To clarify, this includes having social relationships and human connection.
Notwithstanding, the stigma of addiction hovers over every person abusing substances consistently. Alarmingly, this stigma prevents each person facing this affliction from truly connecting with others.
In fact, addictions tend to make someone isolate themselves due to shame or fear of persecution. Thus, leading to the sheer amount of deaths we see every day from substance abuse. The very thing a person needs when struggling with addiction an environment with people who are willing to show understanding, empathy, and support.